Your Biological Clock at Work


Your sleep cycle, also known as your circadian
rhythm, tells your body when to be asleep, and when to be awake. It uses cues from light, temperature, when
and what you eat, and whether or not you exercise to make you feel alert, or tired. There are a lot of different processes involved. At 6:45am, your blood pressure rises getting your body ready to wake up and spend
all day vertical. When you first get up in the morning, you
may still be drowsy. Your brain and body haven’t completely woken
up yet. Around 7:30am your brain stops secreting melatonin, a hormone
that makes you feel tired and want to sleep. This happens in response to light, especially
in the blue wavelengths, and exposure to warmth, like from the sun, or a shower. You’ll likely be hungry, so fuel up for
the day ahead. By 10am, you reach your peak level of alertness. This is the time to really focus and get your
mental work done. By noon, you may be hungry again. Not getting enough sleep can trigger overeating–It’s
a feedback loop. So make sure you’re getting your rest. 2:30pm is when you’re at your most coordinated. Practicing skills like instruments, games,
or movement will be easiest around this time. And 3:30pm is when your reaction time is at it’s peak, so get
out and play! You hit your peak levels of muscle strength
and cardiovascular efficiency around 5pm, so maybe plan your gym time for after work. Refuel after your workout, but make sure it’s
healthy. Your blood pressure hits its peak around 6:30pm. Around 7pm is when your body temperature is at its highest. As it gets late, the temperature decrease,
combined with the dimming, red-ish light in the sunset will start to trigger melatonin
release. Usually around 9pm, you’ll start to feel tired. But if you have temperature control in your
house, and you’re using your phone or computer, you may be confusing those signals, and throwing
off your sleep cycle. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try putting
your phone away at least an hour before bed. And try placing a cool cloth on the base of
your neck for a few minutes, before you actually go to sleep. It’ll probably help cue your circadian rhythm, so you can do it all again tomorrow.

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